Providing medical care to members of their respective communities is the first and foremost goal of a group of potential paramedics.

Recently, local paramedic and firefighter Chris Warren facilitated an emergency medical responder (EMR) course at the Meadow Lake fire hall. Warren said such courses come about every couple of years and always serve as a way of strengthening the local health care industry.

“It’s a two-week course that serves as the entry level to EMS,” Warren told Northern Pride. “Those who complete the course will be one step below primary care paramedic, which used to be EMT. It’s the very lowest level of training people can take that can get them a licence to work ambulance.”

Eight people registered for the most recent session including four from Meadow Lake, two from Alberta and two from Ile-a-la Crosse.

“It’s important to offer courses like this because, as it stands, EMS is short,” Warren said. “All health care is short right now, pretty much in every sector. We are struggling to keep our ambulances running because we just don’t have the staff in a lot of places. Attracting people to these communities is also difficult, but these local people will work in their home towns. It’s really good to have local people on the ground in their communities… When finished, they can apply to the College of Paramedics and write a licensing exam. From there, they can apply for a job.”

Among those to take part was Skyler Seright of Ile-a-la Crosse.

“Ever since I was young, I was always interested in becoming a paramedic,” Seright said. “It’s been a lengthy and hard process to get accepted into a primary care paramedic program. This will really benefit me because I am learning so much and gaining a better understanding, as well as some more training under my belt. I have always been interested in the medical field. My mom is a nurse – she’s been an RN for more than 30 years, and I just kind of took after her.”

Much of Seright’s enthusiasm was echoed by fellow Ile-a-la Crosse participant Sebastian Morin-Dubrule.

“I have been applying for a paramedic course in Saskatoon, but because of COVID-19 they added two more requirements I didn’t have,” Morin-Dubrule said. “Meanwhile, my dad suggested I take this course because it helps me get my foot in the door and helps me to know what to expect when I eventually take the paramedic course. I am really liking it. It’s very hands-on. Chris actually shows us what to do instead of us just reading about it in a book. It makes it a lot easier to understand… Most of my family is involved in the medical field. My dad is a nurse and a paramedic, and a good majority of my cousins are nurses or some type of health services worker.”

Warren, meanwhile, encourages anyone interested in signing up for a similar course to keep their eyes open for when one becomes available.

“Contact the Red Cross,” he said. “Courses are always listed on the Red Cross website.”

by Phil Ambroziak